SAHANASHEELATAA (TOLERANCE)
August 30, 2003
Niles, IL: MAFS Center

Scriptures describe the Pruthvee (Earth) as the greatest example of sahanasheelataa (tolerance) because of its ability to support the perpetual movement and abuse of all living creatures. Mother Earth is also considered an incarnation of Lakshmiji, the wife of Lord Vishnu. Thus there is a shloka (verse) recited in the morning asking for forgiveness before putting one's foot on the Earth. Scriptures similarly cite many great personalities of the past whose tolerance was exemplary: King Nala and his wife Damyanti, Sitaji, the Pandavs and Draupadi, amongst many others.

In addition to these past examples, in recent times, Lord Swaminarayan trained the paramhansas by exacting strict regulations and imposing 114 chapters, such as remaining tolerant to cold, hunger, etc. When Lord Swaminarayan saw that His paramhansas tolerated the abuse of demonic opposition, He declared that the paramhansas were far greater than any of the past examples, and that their quality of sahanasheelataa was beyond even the Pruthvee. Lord Swaminarayan's paramhansas not only did not retaliate to those who struck them with weapons, but in return prayed for the wrongdoers' well being!

The regular description of sahanasheelataa has a negative element of sadness that accompanies the act of tolerance. With true sahanasheelataa, there is no feeling of sadness. Instead, there is a positive feeling that even the person causing the abuse should be benefited. Second, most people have a limit on their ability to tolerate. A person with the true quality of sahanasheelataa is limitless.

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